KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) Fisheries Division announced its proposed 2014-15 sport fish and commercial fishing regulation changes during the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission’s August meeting. TWRA Fisheries Division Chief Bobby Wilson made the proposals at the Aug. 22-23 meeting of the TFWC held in Knoxville.
The public is invited to provide comments on the 2014-15 proposals. The comment period for the commercial fishing regulations will be until Sept. 18. The deadline for the sport fishing comments is Oct. 10. Comments may be sent to TWRA.Comment@tn.gov, or TWRA, Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville, TN 37204. Please include “2014 Fish Comments” on the subject line of emailed submissions.
The TFWC will vote on the commercial fishing proposals at its Sept. 19-20 meeting in Nashville. The sport fish regulations will be voted on the TFWC’s meeting to be held Oct. 17-18 in Kingsport. If approved, the changes would become effective March 1, 2014.
2014-15 Sport Fishing Proposals:
Crayfish: Proposal would establish the harvest of crayfish as food. Currently, crayfish may be taken from most waters except for those already restricted under the live bait proclamation.
Kentucky Lake: Increase the minimum length on sauger from 14 to 15 inches.
Maples Creek and Brown’s Creek lakes: Decrease the minimum length limit on crappie from 10 to 8 inches.
Woodhaven Lake (Montgomery Bell State Park): Remove the no harvest restriction on largemouth bass, allowing 5 bass per day with no length limit. (same as statewide)
Caney Fork Watershed (Center Hill Reservoir, Great Falls Reservoir, Calfkiller, Collins, Caney Fork, and Rocky rivers): Increase the minimum length on muskellunge from 36 to 50 inches.
Big Lost, Goforth, Spring, Greasy, Tumbling, and Turtletown creeks (Polk County): All these creeks will be closed on Friday from March 1 through June 1 (previously July 1).
Cherokee Reservoir: Change the paddlefish snagging season from March 1-15 to April 1-15.
Fort Loudoun, Melton Hill, and Chilhowee reservoirs: Change walleye and sauger restrictions. Currently walleye and sauger have a 15-inch minimum length limit with a creel limit of 10 in combination. The new regulations will follow the statewide regulation for each species (walleye 5 per day, 16-inch length limit; sauger 10 per day, 15-inch minimum length limit).
Rocky Fork: Define the Wild Trout Regulation section as upstream of Rocky Fork Road and State Park Entrance Road Junction.
2014-15 Commercial Fishing Proposals:
Define and add Beech River to the Rivers Section that is open to commercial fishing. This area is currently open but the description is not clear.
Add “turtle traps” to the list of gears that will be allowed to be fished in the creeks and and embayments on Kentucky Lake in April and May.
List the 14 species of turtles are currently allowed to be harvested at the Reelfoot La
Delete the word “inlet” from the description of closed areas.
Define the season for turtle harvests as the months of March through October.
Change hoop net definition to allow for the use of hoop nets with a mesh size of 1 inch and larger and not allow the use of wings or leads. Also, there will no longer be a closed season on using hoop nets. In addition, restrict the mesh size on wings and leads to one inch or smaller for fyke nets, tap nets, and pound nets.